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Fossildude19

Hello all!

Recently, I had the chance to meet up with a few forum members, and hunt the historic Granton Quarry, in North Bergen NJ.

Last Monday, March 31st, I was up at the crack of dawn, 4:00 am, to hit the road and meet my partner for today, forum member Jeffrey P, in Newburgh, NY.

I left my house in central Connecticut at 4:15 am, eager to be on the road, and heading towards the Triassic exposures of the Lockatong formation. An hour and a half later, after encountering heavy downpours and sporadic showers, I arrived at the appointed meeting place, a McDonalds parking lot, just off of Interstate 84.

Meeting time was 6:00 am, and I arrived around 5:45am. Overly anxious? Not me. :P

 

I was a little concerned about the weather, as ice pellets were beginning to hit my windshield as I waited for Jeff to arrive. Oh boy.

Jeff showed up just after 6:00am, and after our initial greetings, and moving his gear to my truck, we got on our way. Jeffrey and I had collected together before, at my fossil fish site in Connecticut, so the trip down to North Bergen was a fun time talking over our expected strategies for this site, and how different this site was from my usual stomping grounds.

 

We hit a bit of traffic heading into North Bergen, and arrived at our destination, around 7:20 am. Now, … Jeffrey had made two previous scouting expeditions to the site, and had a hunch on where we might find some productive layers of fossils. He had scored some clam shrimp and even had a very nice and possibly complete Diplurus newarki, a Triassic coelacanth! We were both hopeful, but realistic as the Newark Supergroup is notoriously hit or miss.

 

For those unfamiliar with the area, the old Granton Quarry is gone, and on top of what was the main quarry floor, a Lowes Home Improvement Center now resides. There are still exposures of the Lockatong accessible to the north of the actual building., however. This exposure was our target.

We stopped in to the Lowes, and met with the manager, Ray, who was perfectly willing to allow us to collect from the exposures on their property, so long as we stayed out of the way of any pending deliveries. We assured him we would be as unobtrusive as possible, and having received permission to hunt the exposure,, headed back to the car to get our gear.

 

At this point, the other half of our collecting team arrived. John (Flyguy784) and his buddy Ken.

 

I have been friendly with John since I joined the Forum back in 2010, and we have conversed fairly regularly, having bonded over our mutual frustration over hunting the Newark Supergroup. John is more of a plant guy, but we had talked in the past of a Granton trip, and when I mentioned to him that I was planning on going, he wanted to come up, if only just to get a chance to collect together. Meeting him, and putting a face to the name was a most welcome part of this trip, and we happily exchanged some fossils between us.

 

It was now around 7:55, and we decided to gear up, and check some of the lower exposures, to see what could be found. The sky was gloomy looking, a light drizzle was falling, and the wind was blowing cold – a gray and fairly miserable start. Water was streaming off of the rocks above, in little runnels which felt great, sliding down your back.

 

In the past, the Granton Quarry has yielded assorted fish, reptile/dino footprints, a little plant material, and some reptile material, including phytosaur teeth and coprolites, a gliding lizard (Icarosaurus) aquatic lizards, (Tanytrachelos) . We all had high hopes, but they were realistically tempered by our various experiences with hunting similar Newark Supergroup sites in the past.

 

We collected the in the black and gray shales infrequently finding bits and pieces of both clam shrimp, and coprolites. Things continued in this vein for a few hours. We finally started to find assorted disarticulated bones of the coelacanth Diplurus newarki! Eureka! By this time, the rain had stopped, the sun came out, and the temperature was rising, steadily.

 

At this point, we narrowed down the hunting to the lower few inches of a seam of black shale, the lower 2 inches of which were extremely friable, and nearly impossible to get out of the wall in any decently sized slabs.

 

After finding a number of cool coelacanth bits, coprolites, and Estheria ovata clam shrimp slabs, between us, we decided around noon-thirty-ish to take a break for lunch, and retired to our cars in the Lowes lot.

 

We snacked, talked fossils, and other various sundry things. An enjoyable time to be sure. We soaked up the sun, and enjoyed it’s warmth on our faces. At least my feet were no longer numb from the earlier cold! My companions were all amiable, and we enjoyed the time together. This is the type of outing that can be enjoyed, whether finding anything, or not. But, we were finding things, so we got back too it.

 

We then decided to take the folding ladder I had brought, and try to access the higher layers of black shale which Jeffrey had managed to climb up to on a previous excursion, and remove a bit of shale that had yielded his Diplurus coelacanth.

 

We set the ladder up, and took turns removing shale, and bracing the ladder for each other. When we got tired of removing rock, we stopped, took a break to split what we had removed, and then switched places. This garnered us some larger slabs, that, while they didn’t provide us with any complete fish, did reward us with some mortality plates of the Estheria ovata, and some more bits and pieces of Diplurus newarki.

 

We continued in this way, while John and Ken scouted some of the lower seams of black shale.

 

Time, as is always the case, flew away from us, and before we knew it, 4:00PM was approaching, and we needed to leave by then to make it home at a reasonable time. We packed up our things, said our goodbyes, and got on our way. Traffic leaving Jersey was smoother than coming in, so we were back to the McDonalds in Newburgh just around 5:00 PM. Jeff and I said goodbye, and went our separate ways. I headed home, to be stymied getting to the Beacon Bridge, for about a half an hour …just to get 3.5 miles or so.

 

I finally arrived home to Connecticut at around 7:30 pm, excited by my finds and a successful hunt in the Lockatong Formation – The Newark Supergroup had blessed me with a few Upper Triassic finds for my collection.

 

Thanks for looking – enjoy the pics.

Regards,

 

 

John (Flyguy 784- background) and JeffreyP (foreground) One area we tried to attack

 
post-2806-0-49309500-1396914408_thumb.jp post-2806-0-59251700-1396914433_thumb.jp
 
 
Continued...

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Fossildude19

And some of my finds...

First, ... Estheria ovata:

This one and the one below it may

actually be another conchostracan

called Cyzicus sp.

post-2806-0-62634200-1396914676_thumb.jp post-2806-0-04556200-1396914688_thumb.jp

another possible Cyzicus sp.

post-2806-0-97951700-1396914749_thumb.jp post-2806-0-81998500-1396914766_thumb.jp

post-2806-0-50446600-1396914804_thumb.jp post-2806-0-94967700-1396914838_thumb.jp

Continued....

Edited by Fossildude19

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Fossildude19

And my favorite finds, bits and pieces of Diplurus newarki :

Assorted articulated bones: Bones and Scales:

post-2806-0-94099500-1396914914_thumb.jp post-2806-0-99179200-1396914928_thumb.jp

More bones: Caudal fins:

post-2806-0-74275700-1396914945_thumb.jp post-2806-0-17952600-1396914991_thumb.jp

I think this is the counterpart to the 1st pic in this series: Semi-articulated bones:

post-2806-0-11005400-1396915028_thumb.jp post-2806-0-57331800-1396915114_thumb.jp

Continued...

Edited by Fossildude19

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Fossildude19

More Diplurus:

Disarticulated bones More odd bones.

post-2806-0-44613500-1396915175_thumb.jp post-2806-0-41002200-1396915191_thumb.jp

Articulated back half of a fish Partial caudal fins

post-2806-0-82287800-1396915210_thumb.jp post-2806-0-35007700-1396915227_thumb.jp

Disarticulated Fin Possible coprolite with fin?

post-2806-0-36748700-1396915265_thumb.jp post-2806-0-89174600-1396915286_thumb.jp

Thanks again for looking.

Regards,

Edited by Fossildude19

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KansasFossilHunter

Superb report, great pictures!

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fossilized6s

Im glad you guys got to go out! It sounds like you had a good time! Nice finds too! Thanks for sharing the whole experience.

We northerners are FINALLY oozing from our hibernation dens, dusting off our rock hammers and stretching our legs! Yay!! Beware out croppings, rivers, cliffs and quarries!

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old bones

Really neat finds! I enjoyed reading your trip report. It must be exciting to see those fish parts come out of the rock.

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Auspex

A top-drawer trip report! Up at 0-dark-30, traffic, disagreeable weather...all but forgotten as camaraderie and fossil finds triumphed!

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PFOOLEY

Great stuff, Tim! I see a return trip in your future. Thanks for sharing this report. Looking forward to your finding the complete fish!

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Fossildude19

Thank you all for the nice comments, folks. :)

This is definitely a place I will visit again, either late in the fall, or early next spring.

I fear the poison ivy is about to bloom, and that place is covered in it! :(

Here is a reconstruction of what Diplurus newarki articulated bones would look like.

post-2806-0-47010000-1396919386_thumb.jp

Taken from This PDF.

Regards,

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xonenine

glad you had a good trip, fantastic report Tim, thanks! :)

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Fossildude19

Thank you, Carmine. :)

I forgot to mention these fish only got to be about 5-6 inches in length, so, the parts you are seeing that I found are all under 3 inches, most are around 1-2 inches.

Regards,

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Bullsnake

Love the report, Tim.

Coelacanth...a classic!

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Fossildude19

Thank you Steve!

Thanks also to Mike, Kris, Charlie, Oldbones, and Chas!

I appreciate your comments.

Regards,

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JohnJ

Traffic...the bane of a fossil trip. Excellent report, Tim. Glad you had the chance to get out. Down here in Texas, the rain helps with the contrast of fossils to matrix. Was it helpful during your trip?

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Fossildude19

John,

It was a bit helpful, but once the rain ended, the sun dried things up fairly quickly.

These fossils are kind of tricky to spot, as they do not really contrast with the matrix much.

I found I had to hold them at angles to the sunlight to see the bones properly.

Regards,

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Jeffrey P

Great trip report Tim, of a great collecting adventure. I truly admire your dedication, getting up so early and driving so far. And you were rewarded with the best finds of the day. Nice job and the photos are truely amazing. Those fish specimens are hard to see unless the lighting is perfect and at the right angle. Only got a glimpse of them in the field. Now I can gaze at them and admire. The only thing you left out was seeing the bald eagle from the Lowes parking lot. Next time we have to hit the north-facing exposure. Till the next great adventure.

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Fossildude19

Haha, Yeah, I did forget that Jeff! Thanks for the reminder. ;)

That was pretty cool seeing the pair of them.

I seem to recall a few good finds in your pile, along with that mystery piece.

You might consider writing to Paul Olsen about that find.

Looking forward to our next trip out. :)

Regards,

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Jeffrey P

P.S.- Forgot to mention I wanted to get a photo of Tim up on the ladder, but I was holding the ladder. Also, despite numerous precautions, I did end up getting a mild case of poison ivy on my wrist and legs. Thanks to aggressive treatment appears to be disappearing now, but a testament to how prolific it is at the site.

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obsessed1

Sounds like an awesome time was had by all! Very nice photos and account of the trip. It gave me the itch to go collect today for sure. Congrats on your finds!

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Fossildude19

Thanks Kevin! I'm itchin to get back out as well.

That may also be due to my slight case of poison ivy on my wrist, come to think of it. :P

Jeff, I appreciate you NOT taking that picture! :)

Regards,

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Pagurus

Terrific report, Tim. I appreciate all the details. Now I'm able to experience your trip without leaving my comfy chair and getting all dirty. Yuk.

I'm glad it was all worthwhile and an enjoyable adventure. Nice finds!

Mike

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Fossildude19

Thank you for the kind words, Mike.

Hope the weather clears soon for us to hunt together again.

Regards,

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erose

At one point in the 80s(?) you could collect from some levies in the meadowlands built from Granton Quarry shales. I actually found several good fish and lots of those "shrimp". I went back in the 90s and it was a nature preserve and totally overgrown.

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Fossildude19

Erich, Apparently, I got into fossilhunting too late! :P

It's okay - the hunting is harder, and that much more appreciated when I find something.

Regards,

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